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Author Topic: Tupelo  (Read 83664 times)
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arnold
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2006, 01:40:38 PM »

Hey anonymous:  I got a similar letter last year, referencing specific poems and glowing praise for the manuscript, although, of course, he couldn't take it.  Did you get the posted form letter this year?  If so, cast your vote up above!
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Briggs Seekins
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2006, 07:17:21 PM »

"Slow down, Briggs, nobody's said anything about "hundreds" at this point. This is an extremely serious matter, but it doesn't help to exaggerate. "

Point taken. But according to Levine's own response posted on the other website, he sent out 15 generic form letters to at least a large percentage of the 1000 people who submitted. So it does sound like hundreds.

What is beyond a doubt is that he is sending multiple identical form letters that read as if they are personalized critiques, and accompanying these letters is a sollicitation for a very large professional fee. While the "criticism" offered is extremely vague and vapid, it is certainly "crafted" to sound personally endearing. You wouldn't have to be Diane Chambers from Cheers to read this particular form letter and be taken in by it.

I think this is probably the sleeziest single act I've ever seen committed by a member of the po-biz.
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arnold
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2006, 07:59:10 PM »

Briggs said:

Point taken. But according to Levine's own response posted on the other website, he sent out 15 generic form letters to at least a large percentage of the 1000 people who submitted. So it does sound like hundreds.


Where's the "other website" with Levine's response?
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alan
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2006, 09:52:27 PM »

See emelie's posts here and here.  And no I was not "anonymous."

Kristy Bowen says, " . . . sort of makes Jorie Graham and David Lehman look like saints . . . "

Blogsearch will help you to keep up with the scandal.
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
alan
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2006, 10:33:03 PM »

2 more versions of the letter.  Please, keep them coming.  Rumor has it that Levine claims that each poet got 1 of 15 different (form) letters.  I'd like to see how many we can find, and if anyone did not receive the offer of the manuscript critique and the do not pass go chance at the Dorset Prize.  Fax a copy to (360) 246-5459. I promise to protect your identifying details, such as your name and title of your manuscript. But I think it's important for us to know and disclose how many of these letters were sent.

Version 1
Version 2
Version 3
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
Briggs Seekins
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2006, 06:43:27 AM »

I do find it interesting, too, that the person who responded to the blogger that Alan linked to confidently assured her that Levine's praise didn't sound the least bit generic.
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Bugzita
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2006, 09:05:30 AM »

I posted two responses on emilie's blog (I identified myself in text both times). I invited her to post here.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
alan
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2006, 10:01:01 AM »

At least one person asked for the $35 back.  This is the response:

> In the first place, the fee was not an entry fee. It was a reading fee
> for an open reading period. The fee accounted for just that, a
> thorough reading. The commentary, necessarily brief (there were 1,000
> submissions) was a throw in, something I was under no obligatin to
> provide. In the second place, in order to respond to 1,000 manuscripts
> in my lifetime, it was necessary to divide the manuscript into 15
> levels of response based upon categories of writing issues. Then,
> having divided the submissions into those 15 levels, the responses to
> each level were, of necessity, fairly similar. Imagine, if you will,
> the titanic task of trying to respond to 68,000 pages of poetry.
> Anyway, every single manuscript was given a thorough reading, and
> that's exactly what the fee covered. No good deed goes unpunished, of
> course.
>
> Best,
> Jeffrey Levine
> Tupelo Press


"No good deed goes unpunished, of course."  I ask Foetry.com readers, what is Levine's good deed?
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
arnold
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2006, 11:15:10 AM »

Jeffrey Levine says:

The commentary, necessarily brief (there were 1,000
> submissions) was a throw in, something I was under no obligatin to
> provide.



Hmmmm.  Since Tupelo's own notice concerning the open submission period stated:

Tupelo Press Announces Open Submissions For Fiction & Poetry For July, 2006

Jeffrey Levine, Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press will read each and every poetry manuscript submitted. This year, every poetry submission will receive a short critique.



Let's see, you request manuscripts with a $35 reading fee (which is fine, we agreed to pay it), with a written promise that every submission will receive a short critique.  Sounds like an obligation to me.
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N. Joy Vey
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yes
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2006, 03:36:55 PM »

I do have a predilection to:
Quote
imagine titanic task
---Jeffrey Levine

Jeffrey, Sir,  burdens noted, I invite you to respond perhaps in one of the fifteen(15) levels, to the questions and concerns that Foetrydotcom's discussion  offers.  No need to end a lengthy missive.

Thank you,  Nomi Hurwitz
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he sooner I have made my first 5000 mistakes, the sooner I will be able to correct them.

Kimon Nicolaides
alan
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2006, 09:18:50 AM »

So far, this is the first confirmation of a person who sent $35 and did not receive the form letter.  I do think it's strange that she was referred to as a "finalist" when it wasn't supposed to be a contest.  Levine seems to want it all ways.  Anyone else?
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
alan
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2006, 01:22:26 PM »

Another tipster says . . .

I too, Alan, submitted to Tupelo's recent open reading. I received
>> version 1
>> of the form letters posted and am most disappointed in the business
>> practices being adopted by a previously well-respected press. My first
>> indication that something was amiss was that not even the name of a poem
>> to
>> indicate the poems "fully realized"  in the manuscript, a piece to use as
>> the "bar" with which to measure the weaker poems in the manuscript.  The
>> same was true of the vague "Orphic utterances" criticism.  This is a
>> critique
>> that is totally useless and I do believe that all entry fees should be
>> refunded
>> to the 1000 applicants.

Meanwhile, I've received many more emails confirming they got a form letter.  I have yet to see evidence of fifteen different letters.  (Not that 15 is much better than 3, anyway).  I'm beginning to wonder if only three different letters exist for 1000 poets.
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it. -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
Bugzita
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« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2006, 01:42:07 PM »

We could ask Jeffrey Levine to fax copies of the other 12 letters to foetry. If he pokes around too much, we can figure that he made them up after the fact.

Maybe it doesn't matter; his reputation is shot anyway.

This is a very, very sad situation.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
Amanda
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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2006, 07:22:52 AM »

Someone posted:

I also think the focus should be kept on Mr. Levine here; Tupelo Press has published some wonderful books by very good poets. For whatever reason, he personally seems to be behaving in a heinous fashion.




Coming out of lurk mode here to post a few thoughts:

Jeffrey Levin is Tupelo Press.  

My vision, perhaps a bit murky, of this critique process, was that Jeffrey was going to sit down with his little red pen, while he was reading the submitted manuscripts, making notes as he "read each manuscript" for the purpose of passing on to the second level, those manuscripts that were deserving of additional consideration. To read all manuscripts and form an opinion, he would have to read all incoming works.  I saw each poet as either receiving the manuscript back via media mail, with his notes or a short note about each manuscript.

Perhaps this was a lapse in judgement, but if Jeffrey Levine is going to hang out a shingle for workshopping and critiquing manuscripts, then it should be a totally separate shingle, very very distinct and far from the operations of Tupelo.

Me thinks he should return the fees. And, at best he owes the poetry world a huge apology.

I hope he won't play lawyer here in this process. There is a huge difference between legal and ethical.  

Sad situation for a press who has done much for poetry.  I am not sure he or the press can recover from this.

Vermont, where the Dorset prize is located, has some of the strictest rules in the country for contests. There can be no fees charged. So, along that vein, Jeffrey should have kept his private business separate from that of the press.

If there is non-profit status at any press, where the owner of the press is collecting any private funds, I would also think that it would be doubly important for the shingles to be separate and private.

best, manda




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Bugzita
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2006, 08:54:25 AM »

Amanda said:

Quote
Perhaps this was a lapse in judgement, but if Jeffrey Levine is going to hang out a shingle for workshopping and critiquing manuscripts, then it should be a totally separate shingle, very very distinct and far from the operations of Tupelo.


You have said it best, Manda.

I, too, see nothing wrong with a professional offering critiques for a fee, BUT that business should not be tied in with a contest/reading fee for publication.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Bugz
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ennifer Semple Siegel

One must always question wrongheaded conventional wisdom.
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